Gun-control bills readied for General Assembly session

A series of proposals to limit access to high-capacity weapons, assault weapons and ammunition will be introduced at the 2013 state General Assembly session.

State Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, and state Rep. Bob Godfrey, D-Danbury, have spearheaded the proposal.

"Every constituent I have spoken to since this horrific event has demanded action," Bye said. "They simply cannot fathom why we continue to pay such an awful price for such free access to firearms."

The package seeks to prohibit the sale and possession of any rifle, shotgun or pistol magazine with a capacity of more than 10 rounds; expand the definition of an assault weapon; and require registration with the state law enforcement officials of all firearms by model and serial number.

The proposed legislation also would institute a 50 percent sales tax on ammunition and firearm magazines. It would require a permit to purchase ammunition and prohibit the online purchase of ammunition.

Bye said she plans to work closely with national and state experts to create laws and reforms that have real impact.

Godfrey sponsored the original 1993 assault weapons ban but said more needs to be done.

"We need to look at the definition of what is an assault weapon," he said.

Other restrictions on purchasing ammunition and storing firearms and ammunition also would be included in the proposed bills.

Both legislators want mental health services tackled as well but say they see restricting guns as the most effective solution at the moment.

"We are in the middle of a mental health services crisis here in Connecticut and across America," Bye said. "This is a serious problem which requires a serious, long-term solution. Until that solution is crafted, however, we must do everything in our power to ensure that those people who have a desire to cause harm to others cannot do so with a firearm."

j.somers@theday.com

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